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Newsletter - June 2010

Next Meeting in Dade County
Upcoming Field Trip
Chapter News
Other News of Interest
If You Missed the May Meeting
Meet Out Newest Board Members
Another Exotic Pest: "Mile-A-Minute" Vine Found In Miami-Dade
New FNPS Online Resources
Contacts for DCFNPS


Summer 2010

June 5 (Sat.): Chapter workday at ENP
June 12 (Sat.): Dade field trip (Camp Matecumbe Pineland Preserve and Little George Hammock)
June 22 (Tue.): Dade meeting

July 17 (Sat.): Chapter workday at ENP
July 24 (Sat.):  Field trip to the Deering Estate pineland

Aug. 1 (Sun.): Annual summer evening yard visit and social (in place of a July meeting at Fairchild).
Aug. 7 (Sat.): Chapter workday at ENP
(No chapter meeting in August)

The Keys Branch is on vacation until December.


Tuesday, June 22, 2010, 7:30 pm, at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, Corbin Building, 10901 Old Cutler Road.  Free and open to the public. Refreshments begin at 7:15 pm. Merchandise sales are before and after the program (cash/checks only).  The plant raffle follows the program.  (Note: this is the fourth Tuesday, not the last.)

"Gardening for Pollinators with Pine Rockland Wildflowers" - Dr. Suzanne Koptur, Florida International University. It is a happenstance that June 21-27 is the 4th Annual National Pollinator Week, designated by the U.S. Senate.  Suzanne suggests that you check out for information, educational resources, posters, books, stickers to print, a calendar of events across the US (including our meeting) and more.   Dr. Koptur has been a member of the FNPS since coming to Miami 25 years ago to become a professor at FIU. She teaches courses in botany and ecology, and has studied plant/animal interactions in many parts of the world, including subtropical south Florida, with her graduate and undergraduate research students.

Sunday, August 1: The Annual Summer Yard Visit and Social meeting.  The chapter will meet at the home of Lauren McFarland in the Redland to enjoy her 1.5 acre pineland garden and our annual summer potluck social.  This replaces our July meeting at Fairchild.  FNPS members and their guests are invited - this meeting is not open to the general public.


If the weather is very bad, please call to confirm.  Field trips are for the study of plants and enjoyment of nature by FNPS members and guests. Collecting is not permitted. Children are welcome. For carpooling, call Patty Phares (305-255-6404).

Saturday, June 12: Camp Matecumbe Pineland Preserve and Little George Hammock.  9am-noon.

Members of the Miami Blue Chapter of the North American Butterfly Association will join us on this trip. Those interested will gather for lunch at a nearby restaurant (to be decided).

  • Leader: Tiffany Melvin, Biologist with Miami-Dade County's Environmental Endangered Lands (EEL) Program.
  • Meet: The meeting time and location, and directions are in the print newsletter mailed to Dade Chapter FNPS  members.  Field trips are for members and their guests.  Please join so that you can enjoy all the activities of the chapter!
  • Difficulty: Easy-Moderate, walking a short distance.  At Camp Matecumbe we will be on paths and firebreaks, but at Little George there will be optional walks off the firebreaks onto rocky ground without paths (not easy).
  • Bring/wear: Drinks, sun protection.  Closed-toe shoes and long pants are always recommended.  If you bring binoculars good for "butterflying" (that focus close), you are sure to learn a few things from our NABA friends.
  • If you are lost or late, call Patty's cell, 305-878-5705 (for use only that morning).

These are EEL properties not routinely open for public access. Camp Matecumbe Pineland is 83 acres at the site of "Boystown," often remembered for housing Pedro Pan children in the 1960s.  Tiffany will tell us about the county's plans for this part of the park as well as lead us through the pineland.  At about 10:30, we will head for Little George Hammock, at SW 152 Avenue and Country Walk Drive (about SW 144th Street).  According to George Gann ("A Brief History of Big and Little George Hammocks", Tillandsia, November 2001), this less than 7-acre hammock is not like a typical Miami Rock Ridge rockland hammock  but is more like the prairie hammocks on the edges of the Everglades.  In the article, George also tells about discovering an orchid in the hammock in 1979, and the subsequent naming of this and another hammock as "Little George" (George Gann) and "Big George" (George Avery, for whom the DCFNPS science fair award is named).  See the article at  You can see a plant list at - Floristic Databases Online and look for "Big and Little George Hammocks" under Conservation Areas.

Saturday, July 24:  The Deering Estate at Cutler -- Miami Blue NABA and DCFNPS, led by Steve Woodmansee.  Details next month.


Report of the Annual Chapter Meeting, May 25, 2010. The slate of nominees for 2010-2012 terms as presented by the nominating committee was elected: Ted Schaffer as President, Amy Leonard as Vice President, and Directors-at-Large Patty Harris, Lauren McFarland and Buck Reilly.

Welcome new members! In Miami-Dade: Victor Borges (student) and Susan Hangge


Tropical Audubon Society. Doc Thomas House, 5530 Sunset Dr., Miami. 305-667-7337,  Activities are open to the public and most are free.

To receive a free monthly e-mail newsletter with updates on activities and conservation news: send your name to You don't need to be a member.

June 19: Workday.  Help enhance native habitat at the Doc Thomas House, 8:30 am-noon.  Also Thursdays at 4 pm.

June 17, 5:30-7pm: Wine and Cheese Fundraiser for the Gulf oil spill - $10 donation at the Doc Thomas House.  TAS and South Miami's Chamber South are hosting this event to raise funds for cleaning birds affected by the spill and to present the latest information from Florida Department of Environmental Protection.  Potential volunteers will learn what they can do, especially if the oil reaches Biscayne Bay.

Dade Native Plant Workshop.  MDC Kendall campus Landscape Technology Center.  3rd Tuesdays at 7 p.m. Bring at least three flowering/fruiting plants of any species.  Contact Steve, 786-488-3101, See By joining the networking site you will receive notices of meetings and may post your own photos of plants, but you don't have to join to see the site.  June 15 topic: Fabaceae (pea family)

Institute for Regional Conservation. The IRC's Pine Rockland Initiative is looking for an Invasive Species Control Team Leader.  Applicants must read and speak English, should have education in natural sciences or equivalent experience and be fit for strenuous work.  An aptitude for plant identification, and experience with herbicides and habitat restoration, or as a field supervisor are strongly preferred.  See the entire position description at:

The third edition of Tom Lodge's book The Everglades Handbook: Understanding the Ecosystem (CRC Press, 2010) was released at the end of April.  Tom (who is a member of DCFNPS) will be giving a presentation and signing on June 9 at 8pm at Books & Books in Coral Gables (265 Aragon Avenue,  Among many topics, he will discuss climate change effects on the Everglades "using his crystal ball."

CITIZENS's ReVive: The Virginia Restoration Project.  Volunteers from Citizens for a Better South Florida will be working on the restoration of Virginia Key's population of the endangered plant species prickly ash on June 25, June 29, July 16 and July 20, 8:30 am to 12:30 pm.  Please contact Juan Fernandez, City of Miami Parks and Recreation Department Naturalist, at if you might be able to help.


by Patty Harris

What were all those names set out in bright neon colors on the walls of our meeting room?  You couldn't miss them.  Finally, the secret was out -- those names represented persons who had volunteered with our Dade Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society (Miami-Dade County activities) between March 31, 2009 and April 1, 2010.

Following Native Plant Day this past March, Gita Ramsey suggested that the Chapter should not only recognize, but give a special “thank you” to the busy, hardworking people who had volunteered throughout the year.  Lauren McFarland and Patty Harris assisted in bringing Gita's idea to fruition.

"We have no paid staff to conduct the business of our Chapter," said Ted Shafer, the newly-elected Chapter President. "We know we couldn't exist without our volunteers as they are what make our Chapter strong.  They are the folks who keep us in line and keep us on track.  Every single person is unique and hard working.  We know it's not always easy being a volunteer, and often it's not convenient.  We realize that everyone is busy.  But each one of our volunteers - each one of the individuals whose names were up there on those walls - has given up their personal time and made a meaningful contribution to our Chapter.  Here's a tip of our hats and a heartfelt 'thank you' for jobs well done."  There was a hearty round of applause.

The Chapter is hoping that each past volunteer will continue to volunteer for the Native Plant Society, and perhaps some of you who haven't volunteered recently will consider doing so again.  Who knows what idea Gita will come up with for next year!

Thank you to: Mary Barfield, Michael Barrera, Ellen Barrett, Carl Barta, Shirley Berckmans, Henry Block, Carlos Brito, John Brooks, Marge Brown, Gladys Burzycki, Gwen Burzycki, Susan Casey, Carrie Cleland, Allison Cohen, Mary Collins, Johana Cordova, Sam Dawson, Sylvia Dolnick, Carol Farber, Amida Frey, Nancy Fumalari, Don Gann, Joyce Gann, Allyn Golub, Ghislaine Greene, Jim Gross, Susan Hangge, Robert Harris, Jr., Patty Harris, Gary Hunt, Jan Kolb, Sasha Lahijani, Amy Leonard, Judy Libby, Daisy Lopez, Robin Luker, Lauren McFarland, Mike Mooney, Bruce Moreland, Nancy Moreland, Cheryl Morgan, Ben Morgan, Debbie Niskin, Elane Nuehring, Lisette Perez-Munoz, Hal Peters, Rusty Pfost, Patty Phares, Nancy Ponn, Haniel Pulido, Randall Quick, Dave Ramsay, Gita Ramsay, Buck Reilly, Gloria Reviera, Carlos Reyes, Donna Rich, Eduardo Risher, Ari Risher, Patricia Rizzo, Marty Roessler, Mary Rose, Jeanne Rothchild, Gene Sanchez, Sue Sanchez, Alan Scott, Gwlady Scott, Jean Seavey, Ted Shaffer, Jonathan Taylor, Mario Teraza, Linda Van Leer, Leslie Veber, Joan Vigil, Vivian Waddell, Susan Walcutt, Victoria Wechler, Jim Wheeler, Daniel Wheeler, Linda Wheeler, Victoria Wiltsie, Lynka Woodbury, Woodie Woodmansee, Jo Woodmansee, Steve Woodmansee, Barry Wright, Sara Alice Zimmerly

[Editor's note: The list above includes volunteers (members and non-members) at Miami-Dade events and workdays, mostly names you haven't seen in print as Tillandsia contributors, field trip leaders, speakers and others with ongoing chapter tasks -- volunteers who are all greatly appreciated.  It does not include Keys Branch volunteers, who will be acknowledged at a later date.]


Lauren McFarland was born "out in the boonies" in Rochester, PA, and moved to Miami in 1974 in search of warm weather.  She received her degree in Fire Science from Miami-Dade College and will retire this December after 30 years with the Miami-Dade Fire Department.  Lauren and her husband Bill built their house in the Redland just in time for Hurricane Andrew.  Their son Michael will graduate this December from Embry-Riddle with a degree in Aerospace Engineering.

Lauren credits her mother, who changed every house they lived in with her expert landscaping, with her love of plants.    She says, "I enjoy native plants because I feel plants really have to participate in their own care (too much time and effort to coddle one that's really not happy in this location).  I think I'll never get all the names straight!"

The McFarlands live on 1.5 acres where she is trying to slowly replace all the grass.  Presently she is concentrating on pineland, because she likes the relaxed look and feel, and she is participating in the Connect to Protect pineland network of Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden.  They have native hammock and pineland plants and some exotics, including a variety of fruit trees.  Lauren tries to plant with the local wildlife in mind, and the property provides homes for numerous species of birds.  Butterfly plants are a favorite and she would like to have time to learn more about them.  She says, "I still have lots to learn and enjoy the FNPS meetings and, of course, the wonderful people."

[Note: Come see the fruits of Lauren's labors at the chapter's Annual Summer Yard Visit and Social meeting on August 1.]

Buck Reilly is originally from Long Island, but attended Vanderbilt University in Nashville and Washington University in St. Louis where he received his Masters of Architecture.  He studied in Barcelona and then in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he met his wife Maria (and learned Spanish).  He thought they would be here only temporarily, but he has grown to love Miami after finding organizations like FNPS, Miami Blue NABA and Tropical Audubon Society.  In these groups he has met people he likes and has begun to feel “native” by learning about the climate, flora and fauna which make Miami unique.

Buck appreciates all he has learned from the FNPS and the Native Plant Workshop, and he wants to make sure that FNPS remains a resource to help others learn about and obtain native plants, as he has done.  He became interested in plants through an interest in both wildlife and sustainable design, and he became an architect through an interest in art, but he also felt the need to create something needed and useful.  While sustainable design usually focuses on decreased resource consumption, he is trying to include habitat creation as an integrated part of his designs (see his article in the January 2010 Tillandsia).  As a member of the South Miami Green Task Force, Buck advocates the use of native plants for landscaping and a community garden which hopefully will include a pine rockland garden.

Buck's other interests are music, art, vegetable gardening, butterfly gardening, permaculture design and travel. In addition to working for his architecture firm, he and another architect opened the South Florida branch of a national energy auditing company, Pro Energy Consultants, which helps people lower their electricity bills or deal with comfort issues in their home.


The following paragraphs are excerpted from the website of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Division of Plant Industry.  See the complete articles, identification keys, photos and other information about this new and potentially serious invasive exotic plant on the website.

It is important to call 888-397-1517 immediately if you think you have seen this plant!


"Mikania micrantha Kunth (also known by the common names of mile-a-minute, Chinese creeper and bittervine) is a fast growing vine on both the Federal and Florida state noxious weed lists.  It thrives in warm and humid environments, and has been observed to grow almost half a meter per week under optimal conditions.  While native to Central and South America, its global range expanded to cover Southeast Asia and the Pacific during the 1940s when it was used as camouflage for airfields. As a rapidly growing climbing vine, it can smother and overwhelm other small plants and even large trees. Left uncontrolled, it can cover abandoned disturbed areas in only a few months, and then spill over into agricultural and natural areas. … Mile-a-minute is one of the top one hundred global invasive pests.  

"It was recently detected in the Redlands area of Miami-Dade County. This plant had not previously been reported to be established in the continental United States. Survey and management programs are underway."

Excerpts from Pest Alert DACS-P-01675 (link to this update and others from the above website):

"The Chinese creeper, bittervine or mile-a-minute, Mikania micrantha, an invasive vine new to the continental United States"  by Richard E. Weaver, Jr., and Wayne Dixon of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Division of Plant Industry.

"… Mikania micrantha Kunth, a vine in the Compositae (Asteraceae) was recently detected in Miami-Dade County by Keith Bradley of the Institute for Regional Conservation.  Through further surveys, additional patches have been found, all within a 5.5 mi. swath through the Redlands area of Homestead.  The populations have mostly been found in disturbed areas such as roadsides and woodlots, but at least one nursery is infested, as is one residential landscape. …"

"… Two species of Mikania are native to Florida, but some taxonomists recognize a third as well.  The commonest and most widespread is the climbing hempvine, M. scandens …., found throughout the state.  The Florida Keys hempvine, M. cordifolia … is common in the central and southern peninsula, but less so in the northern part of the state. …"

"… [Mikania micranth] grows rampantly, covering the crops with a dense mat of foliage, shading them and even causing breakage.  It acts the same in disturbed forest.  Photographs sent in by inspectors show growth reminiscent of the Old World climbing fern, Lygodium microphyllum. …"

"… The achenes are crowned with a pappus of hairlike bristles, which act like a parachute, allowing the seeds to be widely dispersed by the wind.  In addition, as the plant grows, it produces roots at the nodes, eventually making a dense patch that is difficult to remove manually or mechanically.  Even small, detached pieces with only a single node can take root and start a new colony."


Florida Native Plant Society's blog covers:

  • Florida's native plant species
  • Issues that relate to preserving Florida's natural areas
  • Ideas for successfully growing natives
  • Ways to reduce invasive, non-native species
  • Conservation of natural resources, especially water
  • Methods for reducing pollution

Check the blog now for notes and photos from the FNPS 30th Annual Conference in May.

FNPS is also on Facebook and Twitter: FNPSonline


Chapter Contacts

Dade Chapter Board members:
President: Ted Shaffer,
Vice-President: Amy Leonard
Treasurer / Secretary: Susan Walcutt
At Large: Amida Frey, Patty Harris, Gita Ramsay, Vivian Waddell, Lynka Woodbury, Buck Reilly, Lauren McFarland
FNPS board: Lynka Woodbury
Past-President: Robert Harris
Mailing address:

Dade Chapter FL Native Plant Society
6619 South Dixie Highway, #181
Miami FL 33143-7919

General information: 786-340-7914,

Refreshment coordinator, Dade meetings: Vivian Waddell, 305-665-5168

Memberships: Patty Harris, 305-262-3763

DCFNPS Web page:

DCFNPS Facebook:

Webmasters: Greg Ballinger and Haniel Pulido Jr.,

Tillandsia editors: Patty Phares, 305-255-6404,

State Organization

FNPS Chapter representative: Lynka Woodbury,

FNPS Web Page:

FNPS Blog:

FNPS Facebook:

FNPS Twitter:

FNPS Eco Action Alert List:Send email request to

FNPS (state) office: 321-271-6702,